Adjunct Professor Sarah Jane Halton was awarded an AO (General Division of the Order of Australia), in the Queen's Birthday 2015 Honours, for her distinguished service to public administration, particularly to the health and aged care sectors, through the development and implementation of public policy, and to professional national and international organisations.
A Psychology Honours graduate of ANU, Ms Halton's distinguished career includes Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing (2002-2014) - appointed by Prime Minister John Howard in 2002 - and senior roles as Deputy Secretary Prime Minister & Cabinet, and as First Assistant Secretary, Department of Health and Ageing (1995-1998). Ms Halton's Commonwealth service has included responsibilities for providing advice to government on issues including the administration of Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, aged care and private health insurance, and for implementing billion dollar budgets. She is currently Secretary of the Department of Finance (appointed June 2014).
Ms Halton's awards include the Public Service Medal (2002) and the Centenary Medal (2003). Her distinguished work on international boards includes: Chair of the Executive Board of WHO (2013-14), and board member (2004-07, 2012+); President of the 60th World Health Assembly (2007); Chair of the Intergovernmental Meeting on Pandemic Preparedness (2007-2009); OECD Co-Chair for the Ad-Hoc Group on Health (2002-2007) and Asian Senior Budget Officials (since 2014); as well as roles as Commissioner, Health Insurance Commission (2002-2004) and Commissioner of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (2006-2014). Board Memberships have included: the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, USA (since 2008); the National E-Health Transition Authority (2006-2014); Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2002-2014); and member of a range of Advisory Boards including the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (since 2008), the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (since 2007), and the Australian Sports Commission (2008-2010 and 2013-2014). Ms Halton was also a member of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council (2002-2008).
In 2014, Ms Halton was ranked number eight in The Australian Women's Weekly Power List of Australia's 50 most powerful women.
Born in Wickwar, Gloucestershire, England, Ms Halton and her family moved to Australia in 1973 when her father, Charles Halton, was recruited from Canada by the Whitlam Government to lead the Department of Transport.
Ms Halton holds Adjunct Professorships with the University of Sydney and University of Canberra.